By Jazmin Gathers
Nowadays, relationship seem to end only one of two ways: friends – but awkward friends – or the “What’s your name again? I don’t think we’ve ever met” attitude. Let me start by saying you can’t really be “just friends” with someone, if you still have strong feelings for them. Not to say that your feelings for you ex will completely disappear, but they typically start to die down after a while.
It is possible to still be friends with an ex, but the friendship must be mutually respected. Romantic relationships usually begin with friendships, at least they should, anyway. At first, it may be difficult to be friends with someone you’ve shared so many intimate experiences with. Once you can truly say you’re “over” a person, it becomes easier to resort back to the friends stage. What does it mean to be “over” someone? When you genuinely want the best for them, whether it’s with you or not. “Be happy for your exes who find happiness even when they hurt you in the past and still managed to move on before you,” said relationship novel author, Horacio Jones. The friendship will obviously never be what it once was, but it is possible to care for and respect that person on a strictly friendship level. It’s like a piece of paper – once it’s crumbled, it’ll never be flat again, but it can still be useful. You never know how you may benefit from the friendship down the road.
To ease the process of moving on, you must forgive and accept what transpired. However, you don’t have to forget, which is why you’ll probably never be in a relationship with that person again. In the process of forgiving that person, it may give you more peace of mind to be their friend than to be their enemy. It takes a certain level of maturity and respect to be friends with an ex, a mutual level of maturity at that. Everything that happens is a learning experience and becoming friends with a past lover shows that you understand that although it may not have ended how you wanted, you still gained something from the experience. Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist, shared with USA Today a few tips on how to effectively be friends with a past lover.
1. Don’t get stuck in your mind—it’s okay to ask where you stand to make sure you’re both on the same page.
2. Don’t get drunk with your ex—avoid situations you may not be able to talk your way out of.
3. Avoid being alone with your ex—if you can’t trust them or yourself, don’t set yourself up for failure.
4. Don’t flirt—yes, this includes sex. And yes, it’s more than just sex.